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 '59 Star Chief Jetaway stopped going into gear...

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RitchieMars

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Join date : 2013-08-08
Age : 34
Location : Fountain Inn, SC

PostSubject: '59 Star Chief Jetaway stopped going into gear...   Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:34 pm

I just joined the forum yesterday after looking around online for information on '59 Pontiacs. I bought "Lorraine" about a month ago, and she's a black '59 Star Chief four door sedan with sunset glow interior, 92,000 miles or so, of course it could be 192,000 for all I know, with the original 389 v8, four barrel Carter, and Jetaway or Dual-Range or Dual-Coupling Hydra-Matic. ( So many names for one transmission... what do I even have? ) I drove the car home, in fact. Needed a battery and a rebuilt starter beyond that up until I had the transmission issue.

The fluid looked clean, and still does and I never really had any hint of trouble with it. I recall the transmission slipped once going up hill the first time I drove it. This last time I was on my way to work and hadn't taken the car on the interstate before, but did notice that she didn't shift into 4rth right away. Around town, I never really noticed any delays in the shifting. All the same, I'd probably put 70 around town and out through the country miles on the car before I took my first interstate cruise and thankfully, I had no issue going along at 65 or so.

I made it almost to work and through town and then very suddenly at a red-light just before I pulled into work ( and thankfully I was by myself in a turning lane ) the engine revved but she didn't move. Couldn't get anything out of any gear, as if the car was in neutral. Finally, the car did go into gear at the cost of hitting an uncomfortably high rpm, after which point I parked it at the office and made arrangements to have it transported back home. Already had prepared for such, although I really felt confident the car would make it to work and back as well as it had been running up until now. I was only half-right. I made it to work.

It's an old car and I get that and it's a work in progress to be sure, but I wasn't quite expecting a transmission issue.  Don't know if it just never occurred to me or if I just feared the cost of it so much that I put it out of my mind. I have just under $4,000 in the car thus far so I can afford to do some overhauling, but I still need to keep it affordable since I don't exactly have money falling out of my rear-end. I called a reputable transmission shop in my area and was quoted $1,400 on a base rebuild for the Jetaway, which I think is fair. The shop has done a Roto-Matic and a few other similar transmissions before. Saw them work on an Exner car with a Torque-Flite at one point, probably a Chrysler.

I'm just not familiar enough with the theory of operation behind these transmissions to even guess what went out to cause a sudden total loss of movement. The high-revving only got the car to go into gear a couple times after the initial failure, once in reverse ( it barked the tires in reverse ) and once or twice forward. Couldn't get it to move at all beyond that. No need blowing up the motor or risking hurting it worse than it already is. She's parked for now until I get the transmission looked at. Been working on other aspects of the car in the meantime.
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starchief_59
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PostSubject: Re: '59 Star Chief Jetaway stopped going into gear...   Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:13 pm

$1400 sounds pretty fair to me. I've got a spare trans if you need one. It worked when it was pulled ten years ago and it's just taking up space in my garage.

Since these things don't have torque converters I have no idea what it could be. I would just make sure it has the right tranny fluid and the right amount.

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1959 Pontiac Star Chief 4 Door Hard Top
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RitchieMars

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Join date : 2013-08-08
Age : 34
Location : Fountain Inn, SC

PostSubject: Transmission pulled and disassembled   Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:58 pm







There's going to be a small fortune worth of parts needed to replace the worn bearings, rebuild the pump, cover for one of the couplings, front seal had been replaced at one point but couple of parts looked to be put back in the wrong order causing them to grind one another and so on, and leave to me to be half asleep when my guy was explaining it all but alas I work nights so that's just how it goes with me. But overall, he said it seemed to be a unusual but solid design aside from being vulnerable to leaks as with any auto tranny from the era.

So the last picture there is the rear transmission mount which his sources didn't have listed so I need a little help with that one. I found a couple on ebay but they were way over-priced... and I'm not even sure if those were for the hydramatic or the standard shift.

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